Thursday, 7 April 2011

How to sell books and lose money

I first came across Linen Press last year, after reading about it on Sally Z's blog. The four titles published at the time sounded interesting so I bought two (Breeze from the River Manjeera and The Missing) and loved them both. Three more titles have just been published -I've bought two of them and have just finished reading one - White Lies - which blew me away. (Brief reviews of all are on my little books blog - click on the books link over there -> )

I've written on this blog before how shocked I was to hear that small publishers such as Linen Press might actually make a loss on every book they sell through Amazon, because Amazon take such a big percentage of the price of every book sold, regardless of who the publisher is or how many copies of the book have been sold.

Lynn Michell, the one-woman-band behind Linen Press, has written a piece for the Guardian Books Blog about this, which is well worth reading. Amazon are so convenient - they make shopping for books so cheap and easy - but they're killing not only your local independent bookstores but also small independent publishers.

I bet many of this blog's readers have written/are writing/would like to write novels. It is the small publishers who are most likely to take a punt on a first-time unknown writer. Novelists need small publishers and local bookstores, so I believe we have a duty to support them.

Please, read Lynn's piece in the Guardian, have a look at the Linen Press website, and consider buying one or more of their books - but not from Amazon! (Lynn has priced books and postage on her website such that the overall cost will be the same as buying from Amazon.)

9 comments:

Karen said...

Very interesting article - and some interesting comments too as to possible solutions :o)

Nan Sheppard said...

Good point... Amazon is SO easy, but I shop at small stores to keep them in business, why not buy books from small publishers? It's so hard for any small business to keep going.

Patsy said...

I knew Amazon took a cut and that smaller publishers make less as a result, but I didn't realise they might make a loss.

Caroline said...

Gosh how interesting and thought provoking. It makes you think twice about buying from Amazon....Caroline x

Amanda said...

I hadn't realised this, Womag. We've lost two lovely little bookshops in our town recently, and now I can see why. I'm going to make a conscious effort to avoid Amazon if I can.

Sally Zigmond said...

I so agree with everything you say. I love Amazon for its convenience and cheapness BUT I always buy from small publishers directly. Salt Publishing is another loser (and who have just lost their ACE funding.)

Elaine Everest said...

It's a sad state of affairs not only for the publishers but also the authors. Even when books sell at the cover price an author's share of each book sale is low. Thankfully authors earn more from downloads, as long as it is written into their contract, if not they lose out again.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks for that post - I knew about Linen Press and it's good to be reminded why we need to buy straight from the publisher sometimes.

I had no idea the charges Amazon made to small publishers until my own Canadian publisher explained to us why we can get our e-books from Amazon but not the print copy that way, because of the ridiculous charges. So I'll be getting paper copies from the publisher.

BaggieAggie said...

I had no idea that they were making losses either. Ridiculous and depressing. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

(Btw, thanks for your kind words on my blog, hun. :) xx)